Netflix Instant Streaming seems pretty simple. Log into your account, pick a movie or TV show to watch and you're good to go.
That process may satisfy basic Netflix users, but you're better than that. You plan your week around your binge-watching schedule. You started watching Season 2 of Orange is the New Black right when it hit midnight on its premiere date, pacific standard time of course. You have a calendar that keeps track of when each new title hits Netflix.
You are a Netflix master, and now it's time to act like one. Believe it or not, it's actually possible to make your Netflix viewing experience even better and harness its ultimate power. Here are 11 hacks that will forever change how you watch Netflix.
1. Delete your viewing history
If you've been too lazy to make different profiles for you and your roommate on Netflix, it's a constant fear that he or she will stumble upon your viewing history and finally know you're obsessed with the reality show Bridalplasty. But you don't have to worry anymore because it's super easy to delete titles from your viewing history. Just head over to "Your Account," go to "Viewing activity" and then hit the "X" next to each title you want to magically disappear. The Smurfs 2, who?
2. Access Netflix from other regions
There's nothing worse than knowing you can't watch Made in Chelsea on Netflix because you don't live in the U.K. Luckily, Hola, a Google Chrome extension lets you stream titles only available in specific regional versions of Netflix. Once you download this Chrome extension for free, go to the blocked site, click on the Hola Chrome extension icon and choose which country's Netflix you would like access to. Traveling overseas has never been easier.
3. Watch in HD
Your Netflix Instant Streaming subscription comes with HD viewing, but you may not actually always be watching in HD. The "Auto" option is automatically put in place upon signing up. Head over to "Your Account" and then choose "High" in "Playback Settings" to guarantee that you'll always be watching in HD. But just be aware that this option sucks the most data, so if you usually watch Netflix on a mobile device, you might want to stick with the "Auto" option.
4. Add Rotten Tomatoes ratings and trailers
Another handy Chrome extension to have is Netflix Enhancer, which includes ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb in addition to Netflix's user-generated ratings system. It also adds in movie trailers and allows you to hide titles you've seen. A subscription to Netflix Enhancer costs $2.99 per year, but can you really put a price on an enhanced Netflix experience? Actually, yes, apparently you can.
5. Get better suggestions
If you remember those halcyon days when you first signed up for Netflix, you were probably bombarded with a whole bunch of characteristics that would help Netflix make recommendations for you. You were supposed to choose if you "Never," "Sometimes" or "Often" viewed "Absurd," "Visually-striking" or "Horror" movies and TV shows. And since you just wanted to get to the good stuff, you probably only clicked on a few options before you started streaming. However, if you go to "Your Account" and then "Taste preferences," you can see what you previously chose, make any changes and make a choice on each characteristic, if you want. If you take the time to do this, Netflix will be able to make better suggestions on what you should watch next, and isn't that what we're all really searching for in life anyway?
6. See what's popular Netflix
The aptly-titled Chrome app Popular on Netflix tells you the most popular titles from the last 24 hours on Netflix. It's got to be good if it's popular, right?
7. Say goodbye to buffering
That little wheel that signals your video is buffering is the bane of all of our existence, but it doesn't have to be, you guys. There's a secret menu of streaming settings that is more rad than Starbucks' secret menu, if that's even possible. While streaming, press Shift + Alt + Left Mouse Click if you're using a PC or Shift + Option + Click on a Mac, and a window pops up that lets you manually set your buffering rate so you can potentially fix your streaming woes.
8. Use your smartphone as a remote
Connect your iOS or Android device to the same Wi-Fi network as your PS3 to control the Netflix app on the game console with your smartphone. Sometimes, controllers just don't let you binge-watch Breaking Bad fast enough, you know?
9. Get the most out of Netflix on Apple TV
If you use Apple TV to watch Netflix, you're probably doing it wrong. Hit the up arrow twice on the remote to access a thumbnail and description of the title as you're watching. Pressing the down arrow reveals a progress bar with little marks to indicate 20 sections of equal length. You can hit the left and right arrows to move back and forward between the increments.
10. Breeze through to playback
Channel your inner gamer, and use hotkeys to get your stream on instead of your mouse. Here's some nifty shortcuts, courtesy of Daves Computer Tips.
- Space - Toggle Play/Pause
- Enter - Toggle Play/Pause
- PgUp - Play
- PgDn - Pause
- F - Full-screen
- Esc - Exit full-screen
- Shift + Left arrow - Rewind
- Shift + Right arrow - Fast Forward
- Up arrow - Volume Up
- Down arrow - Volume Down
- M - Mute toggle
11. Make it easier to find the titles you want
There are a few websites out there that make searching through Netflix's treasure trove of titles easier. One of the best is Instantwatcher.com, which makes it easier to search for new and popular titles, as well as do an even more advanced search based on release date, genre and rating.